Programs (M.A., Certificate)

M.A. in Counseling Psychology

The M.A. in Counseling Psychology program has three purposes:

  • To prepare students to counsel in a variety of settings.
  • To prepare students for doctoral studies, if they wish to continue their education.
  • To further students’ understanding of psychology and enable them to integrate this understanding within a Christian worldview.

The coursework includes the theoretical and research bases of the discipline, ethical/spiritual issues related to the profession, and a wide range of counseling skills. In addition, the 700-hour practicum synthesizes and applies these elements in a clinical setting. To earn the degree, students must demonstrate:

  1. academic success, and
  2. character, ethics, and relational skills consistent with the role and responsibility of the professional counselor.

The program is designed to meet the educational requirements for license in Minnesota as a licensed professional counselor or licensed professional clinical counselor (Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy).

An additional license option for students completing the M.A. in Counseling Psychology is to complete additional coursework and clinical practicum hours in the area of marriage and family therapy and apply for license through the Board of Marriage and Family Therapy. The College of Adult & Professional Studies offers an Addiction Studies certificate and a license preparation program in Alcohol and Drug Counseling, which can be completed partially for graduate credit or entirely for undergraduate credit. Contact either the program or clinical director for more information.

Program Outcomes

Graduates of the M.A. degree program in Counseling Psychology will be prepared for further graduate study and mental health counseling careers in community and congregational settings by:

  • Applying research and theories on counseling, human development, individual functioning, and interpersonal processes.
  • Practicing evidence-based, legal and ethical approaches to counseling individuals, groups, couples, and/or families.
  • Demonstrating personal and professional effective relational skills, including cultural competence when relating to diverse persons.
  • Assessing and diagnosing psychosocial functioning, including mental disorders and relational difficulties.
  • Providing clinical mental health counseling for individuals, groups, couples, and/or families of diverse backgrounds.
  • Integrating their religious faith and/or spirituality with their personal and professional development and practice.

Program Design

  • The program is designed to be completed in two academic years of full-time study or three academic years of part-time study, including summer sessions.
  • Classes meet one or two evenings each week, depending on full-time or part-time status.
  • A 700-hour practicum is required during the final year.
  • A supportive learning community is achieved through the cohort model—a small group of students who will progress through their degree program together.
  • Two cohorts begin each academic year in the fall term.

Certificate in Child and Adolescent Mental Health

The Certificate in Child and Adolescent Mental Health is a 12 semester credit sequence of courses. It is designed for a wide range of professionals including:

  • EBD teachers (master’s level)
  • School counselors, social workers, and psychologists
  • Licensed independent clinical social workers
  • Licensed marriage and family therapists
  • Licensed counselors and psychologists
  • Youth/children’s ministry pastors
  • Pastoral care and counseling pastors

Students will develop specialized professional skills and gain more understanding of:

  • Child and adolescent mental health issues and needs.
  • Techniques such as art therapy, play therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, crisis intervention, and counseling microskills.
  • Skills to assess and evaluate mental health needs and determine appropriate intervention strategies.
  • Collaborative skills with parents, mental health professionals, education personnel, county social workers, and other professionals.
  • Ethical concerns regarding roles, boundaries, and competencies unique to working with this population and their families in various settings.
  • Your personal perspective on the integration of faith and working with children and adolescents.

Program Design

  • Classes meet one evening each week.
  • Program comprises 12 semester credits.
  • Coursework can be completed in approximately nine months beginning in September of each year.

Degree Programs in Psychology

Certificate in Child and Adolescent Mental Health

PSYC609 • Therapeutic Play. 3 Credits.

Techniques in expressive therapies, emphasis on play therapy. The continuum from client-centered to directive therapy and application possibilities based on client needs and setting. Common themes in children’s play, and dynamics of interpretation are considered and applied. Applying skills and techniques in working with children.

PSYC613 • Expressive Therapies with Children and Adolescents: Art, Play, Drama, Music. 3 Credits.

In-depth description of expressive therapy theories, research, and practice. Learners will gain an understanding of the neurobiological basis of art therapy and other expressive therapies. Exploration of the benefits of using drawings and other art forms with children and adolescents. Focus is on various interactive learning experiences and art techniques with discussion of applications to various settings and populations.

PSYC621 • Therapeutic Art and Play. 3 Credits.

A focus on techniques in expressive therapies, with an emphasis on art therapy and play therapy. The continuum from client-centered to directive therapy is examined, and the application possibilities based on client needs and the setting are explored. Common themes in children's art and play are identified, and the dynamics of interpretation are considered and applied in light of current outcome research.

PSYC623 • Individual and Group Microskills with Children and Adolescents. 3 Credits.

Issues (abuse, divorce, domestic violence, chemical abuse, etc.) from the child/adolescent point of view, impact of these issues on their functioning. Core helping skills for this population, including facilitating support groups, individual counseling skills, and applications of cognitive behavioral therapy. Ethical issues regarding working with children/adolescents and influence of gender, class, and cultural diversity factors on counseling processes.

PSYC625 • Child and Adolescent Psychopathology and Assessment. 3 Credits.

Students are equipped to be informed communicators with mental health professionals with whom they collaborate. Emphasis on distinguishing among common psychological disorders falling in normal and clinical significant ranges, as well as on beginning experience in administering and interpreting behavioral, cognitive, and personality assessment instruments.
Assessment fee: $50.

PSYC638 • Counseling Theory. 3 Credits.

The fields of counseling and clinical psychology introduced through in-depth study of major counseling models and their application to case formulation, clinical treatment planning, and clinical intervention methods. Relationship between theory and practice. Critiquing models in light of current research and perspectives, including gender and diversity concerns. Developing personally coherent counseling approaches. Dynamic, phenomenological, behavioral, and cognitive approaches focus.

PSYC642 • Integration of Psychology and Worldview. 3 Credits.

Overview and critique of the models that articulate the interface between psychology and Christianity. Focus is on topics central to the practice of counseling within the context of a Christian worldview. Discussion of such areas as the nature of personhood, the nature of evil and psychopathology, and the process of healing. The course has at its core the importance of personally integrating one's Christian faith and the discipline of psychology.

PSYC643 • Counseling Microskills. 3 Credits.

Demonstration and supervised practice of interview skills. Emphasis is on development of core helping skills and attitudes foundational to an effective counseling process. Introductory issues in counseling relationship ethics and how gender, class, and cultural diversity factors may influence the counseling process.

PSYC645 • Intro to Family Systems. 3 Credits.

Exploration of basic family dynamics (such as intimacy, communication, power, shame), with special emphasis given to examining those dynamics from the family systems and family development theoretical perspectives. Differences in family structures and patterns with opportunities for learners to apply theoretical principles to real-life family situations.

PSYC647 • Group Therapy. 3 Credits.

Introduction to the history, processes, principles, and techniques related to the practice and functioning of group therapy in counseling and psychotherapy. Both didactic and experiential components will be used to understand and develop group leadership skills.
Grade exceptions: Graded on an S/U basis.

PSYC648 • Individuals and Families in Cultural Context. 3 Credits.

Study of cultural variations in individual and family identity development and functioning. Exploration of how underlying culture-specific values and assumptions may impact gender roles, marital and parental adjustment, and interaction patterns. Emphasis is on societal changes, critical issues, and stressors in family adaptation related to diverse worldviews, immigration, and acculturation challenges.

PSYC651 • Psychological Assessment. 3 Credits.

Introduction to and beginning competence in administration, scoring, and interpretation of instruments for assessment of personality and psychopathology and thier application to career and life transition counseling. Psychometric properties, ethical use of instruments, factors affecting reliability and validity. Synthesizing data, clinical interviewing, and report writing skills.
Assessment fee: $130.

PSYC654 • Research Methods and Treatment of Data. 3 Credits.

Methods of empirical research particularly applicable to clinical and counseling situations, with primary emphasis on evaluation and application of published research. Secondary emphasis is development of skills necessary for completion of thesis project.
Prerequisites: PSYC335M (in College of Adult Professional Studies catalog).

PSYC656 • Psychopathology. 3 Credits.

Critical review of theoretical perspectives and current research on the development and maintenance of major forms of maladaptive behavior. Examination of the diagnostic process will also include discussion of ethics, biases, and the reliability/validity of categorization. Discussion of formulations, symptoms, and progression of various disorders will interface with a consideration of appropriate therapeutic interventions.

PSYC657 • Human Sexuality and Therapy. 3 Credits.

Human sexuality in individuals and couples; sexual understanding, formation, and function. Helping skills for sexual dysfunction and understanding one's sexuality and sexual spirituality. Human sexuality, attitudes, values, beliefs, and self-awareness, as they relate to counselor, client, and clinical issues. Cognitive behavioral therapy and emotionally focused therapy in human sexuality. Ethical and diversity issues and hoe they influence counseling processes.

PSYC658 • Multicultural Counseling. 3 Credits.

The influence of culture and related factors on client/counselor interactions. Developing greater multicultural counseling competence. Increasing: 1) self-awareness of attitudes and beliefs shaped by one's own experiences as a cultural being; 2) knowledge of and sensitivity to worldviews and perspectives of ethnically and racially different individuals; and 3) understanding of the use of culturally appropriate skills in counseling.

PSYC660 • Neuropsychology. 3 Credits.

Nervous system structure and function, with emphasis on clinical/counseling applications. Includes biological causes of normal behavior, organic causes for behavioral disorders, and drug influences on behavior.

PSYC661 • Ethics and Professional Issues. 3 Credits.

Legal, ethical, and professional issues facing mental health providers, including confidentiality, informed consent, client dangerousness, conflicts of interest, boundary issues (including sexual involvement), values conflicts, religious issues and ethics, and scope of competence. Emerging ethical standards, particularly with regard to new technologies. Codes of ethics and professional conduct of mental health professional associations and licensure boards.

PSYC671 • Lifespan Development. 3 Credits.

Development from conception through late adult-hood. Familial, cultural, and societal contexts as framework for understanding individual development. Physical and physiological, intellectual, personality, normative and non-normative transitions, social relations, family development, vocational development, retirement, and death. Individual differences (gender, culture, and class), issues of continuity-discontinuity, nature and assumptions of developmental theory, and importance of developmental factors in counseling.

PSYC781 • Practicum I. 4 Credits.

A nine-month, supervised counseling/clinical experience (Practicum I and II total 700 hours minimum over the nine-months), primary with individual, family, and group therapy contact. Opportunity to integrate classroom learning, personal skills, and prior experience into a new therapeutic setting with onsite supervision. The State of Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy guidelines for clinical placements and supervision are applied.
Prerequisites: Counseling Psychology program: PSYC625 or PSYC651, PSYC638, PSYC642, PSYC643, PSYC645, PSYC648 or PSYC658, PSYC654, PSYC656, PSYC660, PSYC661, and Counseling Psychology Program Director permission. Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor program: Certificate in Addiction Studies and Addiction Studies Program Director permission. Grade exceptions: Graded on an S/U basis.

PSYC783 • Practicum II. 4 Credits.

Nine-month, 700-hour, supervised counseling/clinical experience (with PSYC781). Individual, family, and group therapy contact. Minimum of 250 supervised hours. Opportunity to integrate classroom learning, personal skills, and prior experience into therapeutic settings with onsite supervision. State Board of Psychology and Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy guidelines for clinical placements and supervision will be applied.
Prerequisites: PSYC781, and consent of the Department of Psychology faculty. Grade exceptions: Graded on an S/U basis.

PSYC790 • Comprehensive Examination. 3 Credits.

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology comprehensive examination.
Prerequisites: PSYC781. Corequisites: PSYC783. Grade exceptions: Graded on an S/U basis. Special Notes: Consent of the Department of Psychology faculty required for enrollment.

PSYC791 • Thesis I. 3 Credits.

Research project designed and completed by student, under direction of faculty advisor and graduate committee. Designed to prepare students to contribute to research in the field and to gain important research experience necessary for entrance into a doctoral program. Students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. should seriously consider completing a master’s thesis.
Prerequisites: PSYC654. Grade exceptions: Graded on an S/U basis. Special Notes: Students must register for both PSYC791 and PSYC792 in order to complete the thesis. Students may enroll in PSYC791 and PSYC792 in the same academic term or in two consecutive academic terms.

PSYC792 • Thesis II. 3 Credits.

A continuation of PSYC791.
Prerequisites: PSYC791. Grade exceptions: Graded on an S/U basis.